Boss Lady

9 ways to nail effective meetings


When they’re done right, meetings can make everyone’s jobs easier – just a 5 minute talk can save time and money. But more often than not, they fill up your schedule and feel like a waste of time.

Wasting time, wasting money

62 meetings are attended each month by the average employee. ½ of these meetings are considered to be a waste of time. 31 hours are spent in unproductive meetings every month. In the US alone, $37bn is lost each year due to unproductive meetings.

Here are 9 simple measures to regain control of your calendar by making your meetings more effective.

1. Set a clear agenda ahead of time

It always helps if people arrive at a meeting fully prepared, circulating a clear agenda well in advance allows those attending to prepare for it, resulting in focused, productive meetings.

2. Assign a meeting leader

Pick a meeting leader who feels comfortable setting up the meeting and will do a good job of keeping the meeting on track. Choose someone who is both trusted and respected by the team.

3. Try going device-free

Between emails, phone calls and notifications, there’s plenty of things vying for your attention during the working day. If possible, try going device-free during meetings to put distractions to one side.

4. Keep meeting groups between 4-7 people

Too many cooks spoil the broth, and too many people make for ineffective meetings. It might require some tact, but only invite those with an important contribution to make, regardless of past attendance or expectations.  

5. Try the Swiss trains approach

If your team struggles to meet on time, try setting very specific times and durations for meetings as if they were departing trains, such as 9:23 AM to 9:44 AM. Being so specific makes your attendees curious and highly attentive to start and end times – avoiding any waffling.

6. Save updates for emails

Aside from wasting time, booking meeting after meeting ends up exhausting your teams’ “executive resources” – essentially the gas in the tank for sharp thinking and great judgement. If updates can be done by email, then avoid meeting.

7. Take it outside

A formal sit-down is all well and good, but if there’s no paperwork involved then why not have a walk-and-talk meeting outside? Alternatively, try having one-to-one meetings at a local café for a relaxed, comfortable space to talk.

8. Keep meetings as short as possible

In shorter meetings, people tend to focus more – working faster and keeping chit-chat to a minimum due to the time constraints. Studies show that people stop asking questions and focus on getting things done, so ideally meetings should last no longer than an hour.

9. Use the last 10 minutes of the meeting to recap

To move forward, make sure everyone is on-board and understands their own action points, and when and how they are expected to respond by.

Collaboration is the backbone of a successful business. Follow these steps to ensure your meetings make effective use of everyone’s time – including your own.


About Adam Maidment

Adam Maidment is a digital PR specialist for UK’s NeoMam Studios and also works for CT Business Travel at He hates ineffective meetings, and will tell you all about it at @helloitsadam on Twitter.

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